Auditor general Odysseas Michaelides on Friday weighed in on the teachers’ dispute with the government over changes to their teaching hours saying that an independent study carried out by an international audit firm in 2017 showed that Cyprus has the shortest school year in weeks compared to the average of 22 EU countries and the OECD.
In an announcement issued as teachers protested outside the Education Ministry the audit service also said that Cyprus has the lowest number of pupils by teacher in secondary education. In primary education, Cyprus figures are the same as the average.
It said that taking into consideration the total number of teachers, Cyprus has the lowest average weekly teaching time (in hours) among the EU 22 and the OECD, with the exception of primary education.
If higher ranked staff such as headmasters and deputy headmasters are excluded, Cyprus is still below the average of other European countries.
“The audit service retains its position that the long standing practice of reducing teaching time as an incentive to achieve the consent of the trade unions in the implementation of new education policies is unacceptable and welcomes the government’s decision to restructure the issue,” an official statement said.
But it said that the proposed measures were not enough and more radical measures were needed to end distortions in the education system so that the high expenditure, with which the audit service agrees, will lead to the corresponding satisfactory performance of the pupils “in contrast with what what happens now where international evaluations show among the poorest results in relation to the high cost.”